In this section, we will go over the mandatory rules for getting married at Mater Dolorosa Church. These rules are non-negotiable. The Church fits 500-550 people.
We ask that every bride and groom meet with our wedding coordinators before signing an agreement stating that you have read these guidelines and will abide by them. Before signing the contract, you must have the name and address of your officiating priest or deacon. Also at this time you will be required to pay your $700.00 deposit.
The priests of Mater Dolorosa celebrate the weddings of parishioners living within the boundaries of the parish. If the bride and groom are from another parish, they must get a letter from the bride's pastor giving her permission to get married out of her parish. All couples must contact the priest or deacon marrying them at least 6 months prior to the wedding to make arrangements for the Sacrament of Marriage. Each couple is required to attend a Marriage Preparation Program approved by the Archdiocese. Information about such programs can be obtained from the Family Life Office at 861-6243 or FAX 866-2906.
The suggestion donation for the officiant is $100.00 - $200.00)
Fee for parishioners is $700.00 plus $150.00 fee for our wedding coordinators. Parishioner must be registered more than one year, and the parish must receive the weekly donation envelopes. Non-parishioners the cost is $1,400.00 plus $150.00 for wedding coordinators. The wedding coordinators will be at the rehearsal and the day of the wedding, but this amount does not include cost for the musicians. There is a $700.00 non-refundable deposit which is due when the church is booked to assure the day and time you have chosen. The balance, along with the wedding coordinator fee of $150.00, is due no later than 1 month prior to the wedding.
However, because it is a teaching of the church that sacraments are not for sale, there is a totally free option. It involves a ceremony that consists of 4 and only 4 people: the bride, groom and two witnesses. It should never cost you anything to receive a sacrament from the Catholic Church, including weddings. The above fees are mainly due to the maintenance of the artwork of Mater Dolorosa.
TIMES OF WEDDINGS
Wedding times are: Fridays starting at 6:00 p.m., 6:30 p.m. or 7:00 pm. Saturdays starting at 11:00am to 1:00pm. or Saturday starting at 6:00 pm, 6:30 p.m. and 7:00pm. There can be no weddings on religious holidays, civil holidays, Christmas week, or Holy Week.
THE WEDDING LITURGY
The liturgy must be that of the Roman Catholic Church's Rite of Marriage and in accord with the Guidelines for weddings of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Kneelers are provided for the bride and groom, best man and maid/matron of honor on the altar. The rest of the wedding party will be seated in the first pew of the church. Music for the wedding liturgy, including preludes and postludes, must be in keeping with the sacred liturgy of the Church and liturgical guidelines for music (see Music section). In the celebration of Holy Communion, only the persons on the altar will receive under both species. The Blood of Christ is not served to the entire congregation.
No-one in the wedding party or guests are allowed to show up intoxicated and become unruly. If the officiating priest suspects intoxication, he has the authority to stop the ceremony. Mater Dolorosa will call the police and have the unruly person removed from church. No refund will be given or can be expected.
Photographs and videos are welcome in church, provided they do not become a distraction during the liturgy or impede the movement or flow of the liturgy. Please check with the priest or deacon, either at the rehearsal or before the wedding ceremony concerning any restrictions they may have. You may have 15 minutes ONLY after to take pictures.
FLOWERS and DECORATIONS
There is no limit on flowers in the Sanctuary, however at least 2 arrangements must beleft on the altar for the weekend Masses unless you are not having flowers. Decorations may be brought in one-hour before the ceremony. Aisle runners and candelabras are not allowed. No kind of adhesive is to be used on the pews or any church furnishings. Any decoration that the priest considers inappropriate for church will not be allowed and removed. For safety reasons, blowing bubbles, throwing of rice, birdseed, potpourri or flower petals inside or outside of church is not permitted. Also, pews are not to be cordoned off in any way. Any seasonal decor already in the church must be left in place, along with all bulletins, pamphlets and signs. This includes any pro-life literature and signs that is in the church at the time of your wedding. The church must stay like it is found. If this is going to present a problem, it is best that you do not get married at Mater Dolorosa Church.
Music and singing have always been known to be an essential element of the liturgy. All music selected for weddings is to be recognized liturgical music. You MUST use our musicians Sallie Anderson 1 (678) 492-0487 and Bennett Plessala 1 (251) 680-3943. We have an organ and music equipment that is over 100 years old. Because of this, there is no negotiation. NO Jazz Band allowed in the church. They must be outside. It is your responsibility to contact the musicians as soon as you book your wedding with the church. Please stop by on Sundays at 10:30 Mass and listen to them and meet them.
Rehearsals are an important part of the wedding and should not be taken lightly. It is not a time to party. You are in church and should be reverent at all times. The partying begins at the rehearsal dinner and reception. All rehearsals are held on Thursday or Friday @ 6:30 p.m. and should last no longer than 30 minutes. To schedule your rehearsal please contact the church office. It is imperative that you be on time. It is your responsibility to have everyone here at least 15 minutes before scheduled rehearsal time so that we can start on time. We also ask that you leave church as soon as the rehearsal is over. Please bring copies of readings with you at the rehearsal. The coordinators need copies for day of wedding to place on pulpit.
Parking is available in the yard, where there is a handicapped ramp leading to church. There is also parking on the street surrounding church and in the bank parking lot across the street during non-banking hours, but please do not park in the ATM line.